Scoil Bhride, Knockmay are this week celebrating following the news that they are to be included in the School Building Programme to go to construction next year.
Laois’ largest national school currently caters for over 700 students and has just eight permanent classrooms, and more than 30 prefabs.
The work includes the phased demolition of the existing school buildings and the construction of a new two storey school, consisting of 32 classrooms, offices and general purpose hall.
The three new Parish Schools could all begin construction early next year, with the school buildings at Aghnaharna moving to the tender stage of construction.
Board of Management chair, Fr John Byrne said it was a welcome boost for the construction industry in Portlaoise.
“We are coming from a situation where a huge proportion of our young people were educated in prefabs to having state of the art primary and secondary schools.”
He said it had been a long road for Knockmay.
“We’re delighted at the prospect of real progress now.”
He paid tribute to the teaching staff who he said had done a great job in difficult conditions.
Fine Gael’s Charlie Flanagan said teachers and students could look forward to the new building.
“For far too long students and teachers in Knockmay have operated out of less than ideal conditions and I am pleased that they can now look forward to a brand new school.”
Sinn Fein’s Brian Stanley said he had been lobbying the Minister and the Department of Education for many years.
“A new school is badly needed on the western side of Portlaoise to cater for the large population in the Mountmellick Road, Ballyfin Road and Mountrath Road areas which has increased dramatically in recent years.
While, Labour Senator John Whelan said the announcement came on the back of the education ministers visit to the school earlier this year.
“This is the final piece in the jigsaw in delivering all the new primary schools for Portlaoise, which had been promised but neglected for years,” he said.